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Source: South Africa News Agency

The chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, has congratulated Professor Malegapuru Makgoba on his appointment to serve on the 12-member expert panel of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board for the first COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.

Makgoba, who also serves as South Africa’s Health Ombud and acting chairperson of the Eskom board, has been invited to serve on the panel by the government of the United States of America (USA), where he joins nine scientists, physicians, ethicists and biostatisticians from the USA, and two experts from Brazil and the United Kingdom.

Members are selected based on their expertise and experience.

The Data and Safety Monitoring Board is responsible to ensure the safety of participants, the efficacy and the immunogenicity of the candidate vaccine being tested or on trial.

The board is also the final structure to pronounce on the vaccine approval.

The committee is independent of investigators, organisations and institutions conducting the vaccine clinical trials.  The Data and Safety Monitoring Board has the authority to recommend that a trial be stopped early, should there be concerns of participant safety.

The recommendations of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board will have an enormous impact on the overall global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dr Dhlomo said Makgoba’s contribution at that level will be an added resource for South Africa.

“We wish him well in the next responsibility and hope that he will still be able to support some of the national strategic programmes that he is leading,” Dhlomo said on Tuesday.

Professor Makgoba said he feels greatly honoured and inspired to be a member of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board.

“I shall do my best to make a meaningful input and contribution to the task,” Makgoba said. –

MIL OSI Africa